India is one of the fastest-growing startup economies in the world. But the last two years had witnessed a kind of cyclical boom-and-bust that revealed uncertainties in the market. Scores of startups sunk without a trace. Many more struggled to stay afloat as funding dried up. Founders squabbled and more. But the tide seems to have turned this year. The funds are flowing again. In 2017, domestic startups have already raised upwards of $10 billion, which is more than double the amount raised in 2016, according to FT. Also Read - Flipkart Big Saving Days sale from Aug 6 to Aug 10: Details hereAlso Read - Micromax Airfunk 1, Airfunk 1 Pro starting at Rs 1,299 launched in India
While 2015 saw $7.9 billion being flushed into the startup economy, it declined to $4.4 billion the year later. But the last few months have been supremely encouraging for startups as the market has shown signs of maturing. There’s been consolidation across verticals, and expansion too by the market leaders. The focus on building “sustainable” long-term businesses is back. This is in sharp contrast to the mindset that prevailed two years ago where startups exhausted all their cash in pursuit of customer acquisition. ALSO READ: Amazon steps up investments in India, pumps Rs 1,620 crore in marketplace unit: Report Also Read - Happy International Friendship Day 2021: Best tech gifts under Rs 2,000
Investor mindset seems to have changed as well. Earlier they’d invest in scores of startups, sometimes without considering scale or sustainability. Now, the funding is concentrated in fewer startups and they are more keen to back the vertical leaders. This ensures that the startups don’t burn all the cash in acquiring new customers only. According to data from startup tracker Tracxn, there were 1,129 individual funding rounds in 2015. Most of the capital raised was Series C or the third round of venture funding. This year, the number of rounds has dropped to 763, and 71 percent of it was Series D funding. ALSO READ: SoftBank invests more than $2 billion in Flipkart in India s largest tech funding round
One of the marquee funding stories of the year has been Japanese investment giant SoftBank’s $2.5 billion bet on Flipkart. It made SoftBank the single largest shareholder in India’s biggest startup, and left Flipkart with a cash of $4 billion on its balance sheet. Earlier in the year, SoftBank had also pumped in $1.4 billion in Paytm, another leading light in the domestic startup ecosystem. It not only diluted Chinese investor Alibaba‘s stake in Paytm, but also allowed the payments firm to shed its ‘Chinese’ company tag. Then there was China’s internet major Tencent invetsing $1.1 billion in cab operator Ola in what was one of the biggest funding rounds in India’s transportation industry.